It starts with the basics: Having a bank account with Housing Finance Bank.
One you have an account, you can borrow as low as Shs 200, 000 and build “mpola mpola”
Some of these discussions formed part of Twitter spaces hosted mid this week by the Bank.
Statistics show that Uganda has a 2.4 million housing (Units) deficit.
Data shows that Uganda’s requirements for decent housing continue to grow at an estimated rate of 200000 units a year. This means that there is an unmatched supply.
Riding on these alarming figures, the Bank put together a team of experts: John B. Kaweesi – Head of Mortgage & Consumer Banking – Housing Finance Bank, Hillary Bamulinde – Real Estate Entrepreneur, Dativa Byabagambi – Head Strategy – Makao Kwetu and Peter Kalangwa -Head of Strategy & Business Analysis – Housing Finance Bank to give Ugandans options.
According to panelists, housing remains a critical challenge to Ugandans.
Kalangwa says the challenge of housing requires concerted efforts and approaches from all stakeholders.
On the other hand, Bamulinde says housing is a challenge because of lack of investment opportunities and to change the trend, he suggests that Public Private Partnerships (PPP), public amenities (utilities and social services, security) be extended to rural areas, encourage partnerships between developers and land owners (government, churches, land boards, policies, Kingdoms etc) and provide tax exemptions on materials among others be looked into for the sector to attract investment.
According to Byabagambi, challenges in the housing sector have been worsened by increased prices of land, high cost of construction material, limited access to funding opportunities and poor planning among others.
Responding to the issue of financing, Bamlulinde says while it is good for an adult to have a roof over their head, he says it requires prior financial planning.
“Housing is good for an adult and it’s emotionally and traditionally satisfying but it has to be based on the finances but an unfinished house is worse than a piece of land. Housing needs to be planned. Look at it as long a term investment. You need to put in a lot of financial planning. We over rely on builders and end up in an expensive project. This comes in when we rely on the builders,” Bamulinde says.
According to Kaweesi, Housing Finance Bank has friendly rates tailored to match a customer’s needs.
However, he says that the gap in housing worsens when it comes to low income earners.
To this, he says the Bank has offers under ‘Zimba Mpola Mpola’ where a customer is able to borrow as low as Shs 200, 000.
Kaweesi adds that the campaign is deliberately targeting women and directly promoting women participation in owning houses. Secondly, he notes that the Bank is also focusing on the Environmental Social Governance aspect.
Kaweesi adds that while the bank gives loans, it also advises customers on where to put their money.
His point was explained further by Kalangwa who noted that the bank’s repayment is tailored to meet the customer’s desire. According to Kalangwa, Zimba Mpola repayment plan is based on the ability of the customer to repay.
“We have up to 20 years. But we have also seen those that come asking for 2 to 3 years. We do 10 – 15 years but we have also seen those that pay before the 20-year period.”
Bamulinde says that sometimes building becomes expensive because of the cost of material. To this, he advises that one has to do prior financial planning, expect the unexpected and carryout supervision of the building. Without these, he says building becomes very expensive.
With Housing Finance Bank’s Zimba Mpola Mpola initiative, one is able to build a house of between Shs 30 million and Shs 50 million.
This excludes the cost of land.
Kaweesi says that “The bigger the house, the higher the expenses.”
“Costs go down to an individual. You don’t have to compete with anyone. Construction isn’t a short term venture. Look at the financial position, build incrementally,” Kaweesi adds.
Byabagambi on the other hand suggests that the government intervenes to regulate the housing sector. She wants investors to trust companies to build on their behalf because then, they know what to do.
While signing out, Kalangwa asked the public to think of new designs and to embrace new ways of housing and financing while Kaweesi appealed to Ugandans to walk with Housing Finance Bank to realize their housing dreams.